I took a walk through my garden this week as I was pondering this week’s story when I came across my tree peony. The first time I saw one of these in flower I was amazed with the size of the blooms and the depth of colour they provide. There are a few tricks in growing Tree Peonies which I would like to share with you, but once they are established they are really easy to look after.
Potted tree peonies can be planted at any time although Autumn is preferable. Unfortunately they can be hard to locate potted in Autumn and tend to appear in nurseries in Spring when they are flowering. Depending on the size of the plant you purchase, flowering can appear from the first year for an established plant to four years for a smaller plant. If planting now just a good water once every week should be sufficient and if they require more the leaves will become droopy.
Tree peonies are extremely hardy and thrive best in a sheltered position away from hot winds in part sun, part shade, or even full shade. They can tolerate dry conditions once established and they require a well drained alkaline soil which is perfect for a Portland Garden. When planting your tree peony it is important to add a few handfuls of Dolomite Lime to the base of the hole. Tree Peonies grow from early autumn to winter and are stimulated by the cold. The roots require feeding at this time and they grow leafy green foliage which appears in early Spring and they flower in October to November. Over Summer they close down and require little water. They grow to around one metre high and wide and will be a valued addition to any garden.
A PH Test Kit is a useful tool for any gardener to test your soil and Tree Peonies prefer a PH level of around 7 but they will tolerate lower with the addition of Dolomite Lime in Autumn.
Pictured Tree Peony blooms measuring around 15cm wide